Millennium Promise Competition

Competition Details
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U develop

by Sarah Spargo
Co-authors:

U develop is a social networking site with a difference, the aim is to empower individuals to get involved and help eradicate poverty. Users can spend time becoming campaigners, fundraisers, and volunteers, or can simply donate to projects that they believe in. The opportunities are limited only by their imagination.

They can invite friends, start groups, share pictures, share videos, or share stories. They can organise local events and find likeminded people who would like to be involved. The nature of the site makes it possible to encompass all 8 MDG’s, as having the ability to choose and tailor different projects to individual campaigns is integral to the functionality of the site.

The potential audience is huge as the ability to form different types of groups and friendship circles allows different types of users to tailor their experience and find roles that suit their needs. Gap year students may be primarily interested in volunteer experiences. Someone who has less time but more money may be happier to donate to a fundraising campaign. Arts and media students and professionals may prefer to use their awareness raising skills to promote the cause. Whoever they are they can find a place with U develop to suit their needs and work towards a common purpose. That said I would guess that the majority of users would be 16 to 35, computer literate and comfortable with the concept of social networking.

The U develop site would work with organisations in Africa to identify villages and communities that need help. They would list these needs on the site and potential campaigners could perform searches to find places that they would like to help. By giving projects an identity U developers can see the tangible benefit of their work rather than giving time and money to a faceless campaign.

The design is kept minimal and simple, so that it doesn’t interfere with the usability and navigation. It has a cut and paste and hand drawn appeal, to emphasise the DIY structure where users are free to interact with the platform. It also echoes the nature of poverty where computers and slick finishes are rare.

U develop is less of a campaign in itself and more of a platform to facilitate the creation of a multitude of campaigns.